Your thoughts on BA’s new Club Suite, a seat plan and first flights confirmed

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Not surprisingly, our two articles on the new British Airways Club Suite yesterday attracted a lot of attention.  You can read our two part Club Suite review here and here.

I thought it would be interesting to look at some of your feedback in our comments section, since HFP readers have generally been strong critics of the existing Club World arrangement.

Your thoughts were generally very positive.  What intrigued me was that a BA insider dropped me a note to say that the original plan – dropped two years ago on cost grounds – was even better and would have blown even Qatar’s Qsuite out of the water.  Whether that is true or not, and whether the initial plans would ever have been affordable or be able to be engineered, is a different question ….

Here is a new picture which gives the best feel so far of what you will actually get:

New British Airways Club Suite launched

One thing I didn’t mention yesterday is that there are no real ‘bad’ seats with the Club Suite layout.  The need to pay £60 – £90 to reserve a Club World seat, if you have no status, should no longer be necessary.  You can’t easily chat to your partner if you’re sat next to them anyway, so if you end up being sat further apart it won’t be a disaster.  You should also find it fairly easy to find someone willing to swap seats to help you, if needed, as the seats are all very similar.

Which flights will Club Suite be on?

Club Suite is now in the British Airways timetable.  You are looking for these flights, which do not show an aircraft type – you can usually click on the flight number on ba.com to bring up the aircraft type, but for these flights it is not there:

  • Toronto from 1st October – BA92/93
  • Dubai from 8th October – BA106/107

The Madrid test flights won’t be timetabled for a while.

What is the Club Suite seat map?

Yesterday I suggested that we had a 48 + 8 two cabin layout.  It is actually 44 + 12.  Whether it feels a bit dorm-like or not remains to be seen.

This is the seat map, click to enlarge slightly:

British Airways Club Suite business class seat plan

What did HFP readers think of Club Suite?

Here are a few quotes:

“It’s a huge step up for BA and I for one (and being a CW hater) will welcome the change. Adding a door does nothing for me its simply something else for BA to break and not repair ….. Direct aisle access is the key and that is delivered. The rest of the service now needs to match starting with grumpy unprofessional crew who talk all night and stomp up and down the aisle like flatted footed oafs.  Food then becomes important and IFE content. I am less concerned about alcohol as I find I drink less and less on board now.  So, 10 out of 10 for effort, roll out of 4-5 years I think will be an issue. Just how long can they keep flogging the 747 on a route like JFK when these seats are flying to other places.”

“It looks amazing!  *searches for business redemption chart while rubbing hands together in glee*”

“This seat is amazing! You’ll never please everyone with everything but it certainly pleases me.”

“Wow is all I can say, This looks class leading.”

“After endless justifiable grumbling about CW over the years, we really should give them credit for this. Let’s just hope they don’t drag their feet too many years in bringing it to the wider fleet…”

“Very good effort. Almost on par with Q Suites which is much better than my expectations were for this seat!  Lets hope that they now fix the onboard service.”

“The seat belt is a positive for me, didn’t like the bumbag belt on Etihad especially when trying to sleep.  Looking forward to trying this out.”

“Looks good as long as they clean it well.”

“CW feels like a dorm of you are in an aisle seat with someone sleeping next to you just across the aisle, with no barriers and no privacy. I can’t see that being a problem with reverse herringbone seating, no matter how big the cabin is. Well done BA. Maybe they have aspirations to become World Class again. Let’s hope so.”

“Wow! I really wasn’t expecting them to push the boat out but credit where it’s due, this is a great effort. Sadly by 2022, who knows what new creations ME airlines will have but it’s still a big step up for folks based in the UK.”

“I still think BA are behind. Poor lounges, some old airplanes, many of them dirty and poor food and wine although BA are slowly improving on the food front but not on wines, like when they ran out of a white on our recent trip from Chile with our first meal!!!  Crew generally are better on BA but not all the time.  For aircraft seating, AA and QR are better in J and for food, QR is miles ahead along with any time dining and good selection of wines as well as pyjamas even in J. CX has also fell behind on food. CX are also way ahead on lounges along with QF and QR not far behind. Theses are only OneWorld ones. I understand it is a personal choice however.  But hopefully with these new seats and the proposed DO&CO food by 2020, BA might make up some ground.”

So …. in general, you’re happy.  Now all we can do is wait for the Madrid test flights to appear in the timetable for August!

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Just one toilet!

    • ChrisC says:

      More toilets at the front – just not shown on the truncated seat map!

      Going on this map there is no galley either lol

  2. Meant to comment yesterday but got pulled into a work situation. Undoubtedly a good effort here by BA. Looking forward to flying their A350 on one of my regular Dubai trips.

    Main concern is their ability to keep the cabin clean. In my experience, most times on F, there is invariably someone else’s detritus to clean up: blanket or pyjamas or slippers. One time I boarded a day flight to Asia, was allocated seat 1A. The seat was littered with breadcrumbs and pieces of a croissant, most likely from the breakfast served on the incoming flight. As I proceeded to clean the seat and put the crumbs into a folded tissue for disposal, I noticed that someone was standing behind me. Thinking that I might have been blocking the aisle and preventing a fellow passenger from going to their seat, I turned around to apologise. Only to find that it was a member of BA’s ground crew in a high viz jacket. By this time I had finished cleaning the seat. He asked me if everything was OK and hadn’t offered to help or have the seat cleaned! 😀 BA should pay me for the numerous times I have cleaned their F seats! Won’t hold my breath though. 🙂

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Perhaps its me being an bit OCD but I wipe down most surfaces with a wipe when I’m flying, regardless of how clean it does or doesn’t look.

  3. I would love to try one of these new seats one day, but actually I love the current CW. I’m only 5′ 2″ so the whole experience for me is one of being cocooned in my own (good amount of) personal space. It’s the service that really makes it or breaks it for me. Hoping the crews on this year’s J flights match the fabulous ones on our LHR-IAD and BOS-LHR last year, and not our LHR-GCM (and back) where the crew seemed to be taking their duties as some sort of punishment!

  4. No Bits today and BA-related – anyone managed to use a Lloyds voucher in the past with a domestic connection on Flybe? Obviously no upgrade possible but wondered if even do-able? Trying to make a booking that has long haul availability but no BA domestic connection available. If pay for separate ticket then not protected for misconnect or through checked bag.

    • Sadly not, the voucher clearly states BA mental only. Best option is to fly BA mental down the day before perhaps.

      • Yeah that was my thinking too, BA Twitter been less than useless. May end up opting for different destination, very frustrating they don’t open up connecting flights in this situation.

  5. Pangolin says:

    Any news on whether they’re going to retrofit the A380s?

  6. Ot but no bits today! Has anyone ever used curve to but foreign exchange it’s linked to virgin Atlantic card currently slightly worried about fees etc

    • Jovanna says:

      I used my Curve card to withdraw €150 (+ €2.50 ATM charge) on the 15 March, linked to the Virgin Black card. Notification from Curve said that was £130.07. That’s showing on my Virgin account. Nothing else, as yet.

  7. David Langhorne says:

    I don’t know about you, but I really object to be expected to pay to reserve seats in Club World (£60 – £90) over and above already expensive fares even if part paid in Avios. I have even been asked if I had paid to reserve seats when travelling in 1st Class. I do like to speak to my travelling companion without getting up. Michael O’Leary must be proud.

    • It’s annoying but I guess if seat selection was free then people with status would complain about their status being devalued.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      BA do not charge fees for choosing your seat in First but some seats are reserved for Gold Members

  8. BlueHorizonuk says:
  9. Ronster says:

    Good Evening everyone

    First of all British Airways must be commended for introducing such a high quality product to represent their J Class.

    I value direct service to the far east and have enjoyed all my BA F travel there,(Thank you again Rob). However with the the removal of the gymnastics needed to jump over your guests legs (with the future new Club Suite), this could make me consider their new upcoming J Class, instead of my usual F seat.

    Or will it?

    I disagree that there is no future for F with this new J product.

    With BA upping its Business product it only makes sense that they now turn their attention to a new F product. Since the feeling felt by many of “why should I now pay/use my avios on F, when J is now perfectly acceptable?” will also be thought by BA management.

    Admittingly, at what speed the new J product will come on line is debatable.

    We do have the confirmation From Alex Cruz that “we are committed to introducing the product on all long-haul aircraft, except those that we are retiring like some older B777s and the B747s.”

    So we can safely say that the A380,newer 777’S and 787’s will have the new Club suit fitted. With a reduction of F capacity on 777’s.

    https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2019/03/19/british-airways-ceo-alex-cruz-on-the-new-business-class-club-suite/

    Again from the above article Mr Crus also states “there will be an evolution of the First product”

    So lets look at how do you improve BA F?

    I don’t have any complaints regarding the current F hard product in the air. I value the smaller cabins and the classy ambiance.

    Sure you can look at what Emirates is doing with their new F or you can look at the elegant and yet simple “Curtain” that Air France uses in its F product.

    However with the introduction of an opening and closing door element to the new J, its follows that a new BA F seat, would also need a door,(gimmick or not). I say this because they’ll be a new attitude by some F passengers, thinking well if they have it in J, why can we not have it in F?

    I feel that the real difference that will separate a new F and J will be a higher quality soft product experience in and out of the sky.

    We can see that BA is already introducing in air soft product improvements ,from the end of the month.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2019/03/07/british-airways-announces-first-class-soft-improvements/

    I’ve always had a very good experience from the staf in BA F. Maybe you could train them to give some more knowledgeable advice when helping you choose a wine but I am not expecting them to be trained to Sommelier/ Etihad Butler level’s either. I personally like to interact with the BA staff. I’ve always found a smile and a warm thank you, goes along way to making the whole service experience far more pleasant.

    What must be addressed is the off plane experience. With the Concorde room being re-designed. BA could do no worse than look at Cathay Pacific’s The Wing.

    Personally I am far more confident that with the new J seat, improvements to F will now follow suit.

    We can see again from the above article that Mr. Cruz states “there will be an evolution of the First product”

    With this forward planning, it will keep the J and F separate, so that there is a clear difference between them.

    Overall BA F and J Passengers are facing some interesting times.

    Now the waiting game begins….

    Ronster

    • Ronster, great post.
      Agree with all you say, have been discussing same prospects throughout the thread. It will be v interesting indeed to see what Improvememts F can gain. Def soft products, good point there, and lounges. Oh to have a PIER/WING type lounge here. Would be just amazing.
      We too have enjoyed many 241 trips to Asia in F, v enjoyable, and hope to have many more. But in the meantime, it will be nice to actually want to fly BA J to Asia, instead of avoiding it. Roll on the new BA. Can’t wait.

      • Ronster says:

        Good evening Polly.

        Good to hear from you.

        I would possibly put a new lounge experience above the a “new” in air hard product, in terms of importance when differentiating between J and F.

        If I was Sr. Cruz I would be planing a visit to the interior design exhibition in Milan in April, to help get some new lounge ideas.

        https://www.salonemilano.it/en/exhibitions/salone-internazionale-del-mobile.

        I don’t even believe it would even eat too much into the Ba Investment budget to get something classy.

        Together with more spa facilities so that people can actually get seen too before a flight or on arrival after a ten hour flight and before they go to their meeting.

        Regards

        Ronster

    • Crafty says:

      You mean “could do worse”. Or “could do no better”.

  10. John W says:

    Great to see BA finally implementing this which has been well recieved by everyone !
    I am hoping up return to BA in the future …… I’m BA Gold , but started using QR for long haul

  11. Chris L says:

    Interesting tweet with some ‘real’ photos – https://twitter.com/jaidillon/status/1108043833076604928?s=21

  12. If I am not mistaken I flew Turkish from Istanbul to Chicago on a 777 with an identical configuration 1-1-1-1 OVER 10 YEARS AGO.

    To get excited over BA finally catching up with the competitors is a bit premature, because over the next 10 years, the “real” (ie non low-cost) airlines will undoubtedly come up with something which will demonstrate just how backward BA really are in terms of seating.

  13. Talay says:

    When do we get this on LHR-BKK ?

    • No earlier than mid 2020 and possibly a lot later, unless it becomes an A350 route with no First.

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